Paralyzed Student Austin Whitney Walks Across Stage to Receive Degree (VIDEO)

When graduating senior Austin Whitney stood up from his wheelchair on stage at UC Berkeley’s commencement ceremony on May 14th, the crowd of 15,000 people at Edwards Stadium stood up with him – and roared.

Then Whitney, a paraplegic since 2007, used a controller switch on a walker to direct the exoskeleton strapped around his legs to move forward toward Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, who was waiting to greet him. Step by step, followed by a team of researchers and cheered on by his family, Whitney reached Birgeneau, who gave him a congratulatory hug.

Read the whole story at UC Berkley News Center and watch the amazing video below.

Below,  Homayoon Kazeroon, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and the designer of the exoskeleton, explains the technology.

Author: Kevin Mulligan

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  • Kevin Mulligan

     If this  New York  Times article does not make your blood boil, I don’t know what will. Don’t have time to read the whole story? I will summarize it for you:

    * CEO Edmund L. Cortez of the Henry Viscardi School, one of 11 state-supported public schools for the severely disabled in New York, takes salary of $1.25 million in salary & benefits.
    * Mr. Cortez is provided with a house on the ground of the school  as well as a lease Lexus despite the fact that his  house is a five minute walk from the school.
    * Mr. Cortez was  also took a salary from a parent organization to  oversee t he school…in effect, being paid twice to do the same job.
    * As a result of a budget shortfall, nine staff members will be laid off or have their hours cut and both the orthotic center and the pool at the school will be closed.

    One can only hope that charges are brought and that all involved are thrown in jail.